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Quantum Aspects of Cybersecurity

Objective

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) is establishing Virginia as a global center of excellence at the intersection of intelligence, autonomy, and security. With a mission of research, innovation, and workforce development, CCI serves as a catalyst for the commonwealth's long-term leadership in this sector through the collaboration of a central hub and four regional nodes. The CCI Southwest Node is led by Virginia Tech. 

The Virginia Tech Center for Quantum Information Science and Engineering (VTQ) capitalizes on longstanding strength in the many areas that modern quantum information research weaves together with a distinctive culture of interdisciplinarity and collaboration to bridge the crucial gap in quantum information between theory and practice. 

The Quantum Aspects of Cybersecurity Program, a joint effort of the CCI Southwest Node and VTQ, fuels research in quantum information science, engineering, and technology related to cybersecurity via diverse approaches and teams, furthering its role in a commonwealth-wide ecosystem of excellence in cybersecurity. The objective of this program is to seed efforts from multi-institutional teams to generate research and talent development in support of larger-scale efforts and IP related to the role of quantum information science, engineering, and technology in cybersecurity. 

The CCI node in Southwest Virginia includes Radford University, University of Virginia at Wise, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech, Liberty University, Danville Community College, The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research New College Institute, Mountain Empire Community College, New River Community College, Patrick and Henry Community College, Southwest Community College, Virginia Highlands Community College, Virginia Western Community College, and Wytheville Community College. The larger CCI network includes 41 academic institutions.

Eligibility 

The PI must be from a public institution of higher education in the CCI Southwest Node and be deemed eligible by their home institution to serve as a PI on an external grant. Each project must involve investigators from at least two CCI public institutions of higher education

Women, gender and underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. PIs are advised to consider diversity and inclusion in their teams. Student or postdoctoral engagement is appreciated but not required.

Awards  

Anticipated award amount: up to $75,000 

Period of Performance: January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023      

Award conditions

Successful applicants are expected to participate fully in the activities of CCI, including providing materials needed for reports, participating in CCI meetings and seminars, serving as a reviewer on other CCI Call for Proposals (CFP), and responding to CCI data collection requests. All publications and presentations resulting from the grant should acknowledge support from the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI). The funded teams are also encouraged to engage with VTQ, for example presenting their work at VTQ workshops or seminar series.

At least one representative from each team funded under this call for proposals will be required to participate in an initial exploratory meeting with a mentor from the Innovation Commercialization Assistance (ICAP) program or a similar unit within the PI’s institution within the first quarter of project performance. The goal of this initial meeting is to assess viability and/or interest in the potential commercialization of research deliverables.

Proposal format

Proposals must use 1-inch margins, 12-point font, and adhere to the following outline:

1.     Title page (1 page)

  • Titles and contact information for Principal Investigator (PI) and co-PIs, including units

2.     Project description (3-5 pages)

  • Project overview and objective
  • Statement of intellectual merit
  • Statement of alignment with CCI mission
  • Explicit milestones and specific deliverables, such as external proposals or IP, should be clearly articulated to indicate how this CCI support will seed future efforts.
  • References (not included in the page count)

3.     Budget

  • Budget items, amount, and justification
  • Travel is a required budget item, supporting PI attendance at CCI events.
  • Budget must be approved by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at the PI’s institution prior to the deadline
  • No indirect cost is allowed

4.     Biosketches (up to 3 pages for each investigator)

5.     Current & pending support for each investigator, including for each            project/proposal

  • Title
  • Status of Support: Current, Pending, Submission Planned, or Transfer of Support
  • Source of Support
  • Primary Place of Performance
  • Project/Proposal Start and End Dates (MM/YYYY) if available
  • Total Award Amount (including Indirect Costs)
  • Person-Month(s) (or Partial Person-Months) Per Year Committed to the Project
  • Statement of Potential Overlap
  • Overall Objectives

No particular format is required. An investigator may use a current NSF Current & Pending Support document that contains this information. 

Proposal submission  

Proposals must be submitted by the PI institution’s OSP to Gretchen Matthews (gmatthews@vt.edu) no later than 5:00 pm EDT on Friday, October 21, 2022. All proposals must be submitted as a single PDF document labeled lastname_firstname_Quantum_23.        

Evaluation criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers according to the following criteria:

Intellectual merit (40%)

  • Clearly defined problem/unmet need and how proposed work will address it

Broader impacts (20%)

  • Potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes, as it aligns with the CCI mission and VTQ focus

Value of the funding (20%)

  • Concrete plans to use the results from this funded program to secure external funding or innovation (including IP)

Alignment and qualifications (20%)

  • Relevance to CCI mission and suitability of team background to proposed work